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Master’s student & volunteer – Lisa’s placement was a clear ‘win-win’

people and places has facilitated several such placements – Master’s students who need ‘in situ’ experience to complete their research & assignments. The key for us is that such placements will also be of benefit to the communities / projects where volunteers such as Lisa are placed … Lisa’s report shows how this can work, and what we mean about this being a ‘win-win’ volunteer placement.

Lisa worked in Port Elizabeth (PE) with our local partners at Calabash in one of the township primary schools that we support.

Read the rest of this entry »

volunteers are busy in The Gambia – and introducing Lamin

Written by Dianne, people and places volunteer programme advisor

“I am writing this report sitting by the pool at Safari Garden Hotel on a sunny Sunday morning.  The sky is blue and the temperature will rise to about 30 degrees later on today, so I hope those of you in cold rainy England are feeling jealous!

Dianne & fellow volunteers at Safari Garden






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volunteers – your project needs YOU !

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the value – or not – of review sites. Some are fantastic and the reviews are genuine – with lots of useful information about the realities of volunteer travel – and these are the sites we encourage our volunteers to write reviews for.

These are our favourite sites … so far … you may know of others where reviews are genuine and trustworthy. Please let us know of any you like and think worthwhile!

Volunteer Forever – and Go Overseas

But – and there is always a ‘but’ – the more reviews an organisation has, the more visible that organisation is on the website. Hence our earnest plea for volunteers to PLEASE write something about your trip.

Read the latest review here – about a volunteer’s experience in Amar Jyoti School in Nepal.

the nursery class at Amar Jyoti







Huge thanks to those of you who’ve written reviews so far, but we really will welcome more! – and we fully appreciate that not everyone wants to or has the time.

But – yes, another ‘but’! – the more reviews there are, the higher your project will appear in the listings, the more people will read about it – and the more may want to go, thus building upon your own work!

you can fund raise for your volunteer trip

Great news – our colleagues at Volunteer Forever have launched an easy and secure way for you to raise funds on-line for your next volunteer experience!

Many volunteers have raised funds, and continue to do so, when they return home after their placements – which is hugely appreciated, of course.

But future volunteers can now invite friends, family and colleagues to help support their work by donating to the costs of the trip! How good is that?

One of our volunteers, about to travel to The Gambia for her placement with ASSET, is proof of how helpful people want to be … This is what Barbara wrote:

Fundraising to help people in the Gambia to earn a living

I need to raise funds to ensure my time in Gambia is a success. I have carried out local fundraising events and saved through work but do not have quite enough. I will be working hard as a chef in a community run restaurant where they are beginning to use their own produce to make dishes to sell to tourists, avoiding having to buy in from outside. I would be incredibly grateful for any help you can give and would do the same if you are inspired to do the same. I will send recipes of wonderful Gambian dishes and sauces to anyone who would like to try Gambian cuisine!

Sheik Faal, ready to welcome Barbara to his kitchen!








.. and at the time of writing this newsletter, Barbara has successfully raised hundreds of pounds towards her trip.

So – when you have a placement agreed, why not have a go at fundraising yourself?

“Enjoy yourself in poor countries? Become a voluntourist”

Sallie Grayson

A few hours ago I was notified that someone had posted a topic with the above title on the people and places group on linked in

At first I thought the video was a spoof – to my horror it wasn’t – take a look at the video here  if you don’t the rest of this post will be pretty meaningless.

My first reaction was to “out” the profoundly disturbing video on all the social networks I’m on – as an example of how bad “poverty tourism” marketing can be.

What I should have done was wait until I had written this post. Less than two weeks ago I wrote a piece about the need to stop bitching about poor practise and promote good practise .

….and what did I do? I bitched.

So now I am trying to put that right. Read the rest of this entry »

Special needs skills? want to volunteer in Kenya – NEW project!

We have wanted to work in Kenya for some time – we know many of you want to travel and

Gede special needs school

volunteer there.

Finally we have found the very partners we want in the team at Turtle Bay  –

Our Education Advisor,  Dianne visited them in autumn last year and we know the special needs boarding school Gede that Turtle Bay supports is the perfect volunteer placement for people who want to immerse themselves in the care for special kids in a challenging environment

…..but be very comfy at the end of their working day!

Take a look at the project here

and take a look at you home!!!!!!!!!!!!

The beach a moments walk from your room

Volunteering: A (Former) Child’s Perspective of Visitors to the Home

There is much debate about the ethics of  volunteering in orphanages – we at people and places are leading a fair bit of it! Yesterday on twitter @pandpvolunteer  I “met ” Mandy  who for some of her childhood lived in a children’s home –  below is her story – it is a powerful voice for the children and carries invaluable advice for volunteers. Thanks so much Mandy

If you’d like to learn more about the Better Child Protection click here

 and Better Volunteering  take a look here


Mandy Southgate

When I was sixteen and my brother eleven, we were taken out of home by social services and put into a group home. Adoption and fostering were not an option because our mother still played an active role in our lives and so I stayed there until I finished school and my brother until he moved back home at the age of fifteen.

My experiences in the home were overwhelmingly positive. I was finally able to get the nourishment, clothing, material and emotional support to finish school. The same charitable trust paid for me to go to university and everything from fees, books, accommodation and pocket money were paid for. A generous donation from an anonymous benefactor also enabled me to purchase my first car and put down a deposit on my first home.

The cycle of poverty was truly broken but that is not why I am talking to you today. I’d like to talk about visitors to the home and the often negative experiences we had of them. Because my gratitude far exceeds my desire to complain, I will frame this in terms of what we can learn about these experiences.

Let me start off by saying that my home had a lot of visitors. The number of children in the home was understandably large in the post-World War II period and many of those people returned to the home as adults with their children and grandchildren. In addition, the committee was comprised of old residents and members of the community were welcome during religious occasions, festivals and special events.

Be careful what you say to vulnerable children and the labels you apply to them. During one festival, a woman I had never seen before was standing with her very young daughter when a bell went off. The child asked what the bell was for and the mother replied that it was to tell the orphans that it was time to eat. Out of all the children in the home at that time, only one was actually an orphan while the rest of us had living but dysfunctional parents. I cannot begin to tell you how offended I was by being called an orphan, so much so that my indignation still feels fresh over 20 years later. Read the rest of this entry »